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  • Sheila Butler

The Journal Prompt That Stopped Me In My Tracks This Year


Up until a few years ago, I avoided journaling. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t enjoy it. Truthfully, I didn’t want my private thoughts and feelings to be seen by or known to others. As my personal life changed, I began journaling and, over time, would re-read previous entries, celebrating my progress as I evolved personally and professionally.


I keep a small journal in my purse and find solace in writing down reflections of the week when I’m dining alone or waiting on a friend. I also have a 5-year journal on my nightstand. With 365 Questions for 5 years, the 1,825 answers will enable me to visualize and reflect on how the people, places, things, attitudes, feelings, etc., shift in me through 2027. Some questions require little effort (“Which friend(s) did you last speak to?” or “Where do you want to travel to next?”). Others are deep and require digging deep. THE prompt that stopped me in my tracks was one of “Adventure or Security?” Wow. The immediate thought in my head was, “Yes. Both.” But life doesn’t usually work like that, does it? Soul-searching to decide if I could only have one this year, Adventure or Security, took some time. I didn’t instinctually know the answer to this. I had to sit with it and examine it for weeks.


Having started Butler Marketing Group, a boutique marketing firm offering branding, loyalty, partnership, marketing strategy, and fractional Chief Marketing Officer services, this Spring, I’m navigating the world of entrepreneurship. It’s exhilarating and filled with adventure. I work 6-6.5 days a week, constantly networking, selling, and producing work for clients. I love it. I’ve thrown all my energy into my company and have spoken with many successful business owners who have been in my shoes. I often receive advice to give myself a good two years (plus or minus) to see the seeds I’m planting grow and flourish. When I hear two years, the days, weeks, and months can’t go by fast enough.


Starting my business has also been scary – very scary. For 20+ years, I’ve had a steady paycheck and important benefits like health insurance and 401K matches in progressive career roles in entertainment, hospitality, financial services, and technology. Consistent cash flow was security. Having a full-time job was security.


But when I step back and look at where I am now and where I came from, I see things from a different perspective. Holding a full-time job gave me a false sense of security. Layoffs happen in all industries for many different reasons. There are no guarantees that the job you have today will not be eliminated tomorrow. Perhaps the security lies in paving my own path, in charge of my own success or failure. Or is paving my own path and relying on no one by myself an adventure?


When I finally returned to the journal page instigating this deep introspection, I wrote “Adventure.” This year has been the greatest adventure I’ve ever experienced. Admittedly, the “feast or famine”-like flow of client projects takes some getting used to, but I wouldn’t change this moment in time for the world.


With 2024 weeks away, year 2 of journaling through 365 questions is near. I will see the prompt of Adventure or Security again. I wonder what those words will mean when I turn to that page next year and the years after. Where will I be in my life? What will be happening in my business? And when I pen my answer, will I still select Adventure, or will I seek Security?

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